As a web designer I often have to ask clients for access to their domain names and registrar accounts. More often than not the client has no idea what these are or why they should know anything about them. It shocks me that most clients don’t have this information and I think the main reason is that they don’t understand what it is or what it’s for. Or maybe it’s just much easier to engage a web design company and let them handle it all. Now this is fine until a year down the line when you don’t work with that web design agency anymore, or they are no longer in business. What do you do then?
I’ve written this blog post as a simple explanation of what you as the client should know about your domain names. But that’s not all, dealing with a domain name that no-one has the login details for can be hell for a web designer. So don’t just do it for yourself – think of all the web designers you can make happy along the way!
Domain names and how to get one
A domain name is the address that is displayed at the top of your browser when you are viewing a website. This is a sites address, just like a house address. Without it your computer wouldn’t be able to display the website you are trying to view. Just like how it would be very hard to receive post if your house didn’t have an address. As an example, Google’s web address is www.google.co.uk.
Say you have a great idea for a new website and you want someone to build it for you. The first thing you’re going to need to do is purchase a domain name. Domains can be purchased through “Registrars”. Popular registrars include 123-Reg, GoDaddy and 1&1. Different registrars charge different amounts for domain names, so it’s worth shopping around. When choosing a registrar it is also worth asking how much they will charge you for moving your domain to another registrar. If you have a bad experience or want to transfer your domain you don’t want to be stuck with a registrar that will charge you an arm and a leg to go elsewhere. My favourite registrar is 123-reg. Their prices are very reasonable and to this day I haven’t had any issues with them.
When you purchase a domain name on your chosen registrar’s website you will be given some login details. These details allow you to log in and make administration changes to your domains. It is important that you keep this information safe and only give it to people you trust. These login details are the keys to your kingdom, so don’t lose them!
Once you have purchased your domain name you’ll probably need some hosting to go with it. Keep an eye out for my next post, which will explain the basics of web hosting and how it works in conjunction with a domain name.
Any questions? Drop me a comment below, or catch me on twitter.